By SARUN SAELEE
HONG KONG — Dolphins are considered as one of the friendliest creatures of human being. However, many thousands of them have been killed by people for food. If dolphins’ meat is not safe to be consumed, should such an adorable marine mammal with full of self-awareness still be slaughtered?
According to The Cove, the 2010 Oscar winning documentary film, directed by Louie Psihoyos and starring Ric O’Barry, more than 2,000 dolphins are slaughtered each year in Taiji, a coastal city of Japan. They are killed for human food while some are traded to amusement parks, aquariums and so-called dolphinariums for their shows. Importantly, their hunting practice, known as dolphin drive hunting, is also deemed unacceptable for the world community.
Although the movie has been screened broadly, and eating the dolphin meat is actually risky for human health, especially children and pregnant women due to high levels of mercury contamination, the dolphin slaughter is still going on.
O’Barry, the veteran dolphin activist, said the meat could be used for fertilizer, pet food and sometimes is served as a free lunch for students in Japan. Moreover, many people are really not aware of the issue and still consuming. He spoke in a Q&A session at Hong Kong Baptist University Tuesday after showing part of The Cove.
“It’s all about supply and demand. If there is no demand, it (the dolphin slaughter) will be ended.” O’Barry said. “The mercury poisoning is also a worldwide problem, not only Japanese.”
The director of the Save Japan Dolphins Campaign also commented those dolphinariums seeking business benefits from their dolphins’ show arrangements, indicating that it is the main factor contributing to the ongoing dolphin hunting.
He said, “Dolphin doesn’t belong to amusement parks, it belongs to the sea.”
The dolphin hero emphasized the main objective of the film production for raising awareness among the public only. The movie does not aim at destroying Japan’s image.
“Only 48 people in Taiji are killing dolphins, not the whole town or country.” O’Barry said, “I love Japan and Japanese people.”
Giant online retailer Amazon.com on March 7, 2012 has banned the sale of all whale and dolphin products in its Amazon Japan website. The action was made in response to hundreds of thousands of petitions submitted online by people worldwide in a campaign led by Humane Society International, an international organization working for animal protection issues.
The dolphin hunt happens not only in Japan, but also in many parts of the world. As the main predators with readiness of brain, arms and technologies, there are many other menus, which are safer and probably tastier. Killing dolphins, such intelligent animals, for cooking seems to be too sensitive and unacceptable. In other words, they are too cute to be slaughtered.